Reds starter Johnny Cueto delivered a ground rule double in the third inning Sunday, giving him his first extra-base hit in his 217th major league at-bat.
Cueto entered the day with a lifetime .088/.124/.088 line and four RBI in 216 at-bats. He was 2-for-24 with 10 strikeouts this season.
Apparently, the rare need for him to run the bases exhausted him; he had water brought to the mound for him while he was working in the fourth.
Cueto continued to pitch well afterwards, though. He allowed just one run in seven innings against the Mets to improve to 8-3 on the season.
Cueto’s .088 slugging percentage at the beginning of the day was the 11th lowest for anyone with at least 200 career plate appearances (since 1900). The all-time low mark belonged to Rob Herbel, a 1960’s pitcher who hit .029/.065/.034 in 206 at-bats. Among the more recent pitchers to fare worse than Cueto were Brian Moehler (.045/.098/.054 in 202 AB) and Ben Sheets (.078/.115/.085 in 436 AB).
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.